When you think of soybeans, you think of soy milk latte or soy sauce, or sometimes tofu. We can consume soy in multiple forms. Soy is used in a wide range of food products because it is deliciously tasty and incredibly healthy. That is why soy has acquired the status of superfood. Soy and dietary benefits are widely discussed among the people, but very few people know that soy is more than just healthy food.
Soybean can provide a solution to many problems in the modern world. Here are five amazing facts to know about soybean.
Fact 1: Omnipresence of Soy
Soybean started its journey as a cattle food on American soil and now, it has become one of the most versatile agricultural products. From machine oil to crayons, soybean is used in thousands of products out there. Moreover, the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC), operates in 70 countries worldwide. Soy-based products do not just serve the purpose of being an alternative, but many are environment friendly.
- Many organizations are replacing traditional petroleum-based lubricants with biodegradable Soy-based lubricants.
- Soy-based ink is a much safer and greener option than conventional inks.
- Many professionals are using Biocomposites made of soy proteins for the construction of buildings. A wide range of products like plastic, adhesives, sealants, etc. is made of soy-based biocomposites.
- With Veganism's wave, many cosmetics companies leverage soy to make a fantastic range of skincare products.
Fact 2: Soybean for the Environment
Climate change is a grave issue, and it is everyone’s responsibility to rectify the environmental loss caused by human-made activities. Reversing the effects of synthetic pollutants present in our oceans and soil is challenging on various levels. However, the scientists are in no mood to accept the defeat. Their efforts lead to the discovery of the healing properties of soy.
Bioremediation is the process of removing pollutants from groundwater and soil by stimulating microbial growth. Soy oil has the same potential for producing microbes to remove toxic substances. Soy reverses the pollution by eliminating the pollutants. That is why many American organizations use millions of pounds of soy oil for bioremediation.
Fact 3: Making a cleaner fuel
Petroleum products are the driving force of humankind as our industrial and economic development is dependent on them. However, we cannot deny that these are non-renewable sources. One day or the other, their reservoirs will be empty for good. Besides, the pollution they cause is also a big issue. We need a sustainable solution to it, and soybean is that solution.
Soybean is used for biodiesel production- a carbon-neutral fuel obtained from soybean oil through transesterification. Combustion of soy-biodiesel emits fewer pollutants than conventional petroleum products. Therefore, it can be an effective renewable fuel alternative.
Fact 4: Making own fertilizer
Yes, soybean plants can take care of their nutritional needs by fixing the atmospheric nitrogen in soil with the help of a bacterium called Bradyrhizobium japonicum. To understand how it does that, you first need to understand some facts about soybean.
Nitrogen is crucial for all plant’s growth, and yet, no plant can directly use atmospheric nitrogen. They can only use the nitrogen present in the soil. Bacteria are one of those very few organisms that can fix the nitrogen in the soil. Soybean belongs to the family of leguminous plants, gifted with a unique quality of forming a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
The relation of soybean with this bacterium is like a marriage. The soy provides a home as well as food to the bacteria in the form of root nodules. The bacteria reside in these nodules and make the atmospheric nitrogen available to plant as a note of thanks. The fixed nitrogen remains freely available in the soil for the next crop. In a way, soybean increases the quality of the soil by replenishing the nitrogen in it.
Fact 5: Making menopause easy for women
Menopause is a challenging phase for women as it affects their physical as well as emotional state. The hormonal turmoil going in the body leaves various unbearable symptoms like,
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Disturbed sleeping schedule
The above symptoms are the results of depleting levels of estrogen in the body. During menopause, the body gradually decreases its production. Soybean comes to aid in this situation. Soybean can alleviate the symptoms caused by menopause as it contains soy isoflavone called genistein (also known as phytoestrogen).
Genistein is known to mimic the effect of estrogen. The intestinal bacteria break down this molecule into its active form after consuming soy in any form. It binds to estrogen receptors to induce the same effects as the hormone, thereby reducing the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.
Soybean: One Solution to Many problems
It is no secret that currently, our kind has a lot on our plate. Some of the modern problems are the direct result of humanity's actions, whereas some result from our changing lives. Finding a solution to every one of them can be a tedious job, and that is why it wouldn't be wrong to think of soybean as a panacea. From environmental problems like pollution to health issues like cancer, soy can rectify many current problems.